By: Amy Dell
Welcome to 2021, where science is divisive, and the pandemic infiltrates every waking moment. In this new normal, I’m trying to navigate life and stay safe, based on my own perceptions about what will help me do that. For me, that meant getting a COVID-19 Booster.
I received my Pfizer booster shot on Friday night, a process that could have been painless, but ended up being a hassle characteristic of the American healthcare system. Making an appointment was easy – far easier than it had been for my first dose – but when I got to the Walmart Pharmacy, my insurance card wasn’t sufficient, so I had to call and get the appropriate long strings of letters and numbers to prove, that I am, indeed, allowed to receive the free vaccine.
Once I was with the pharmacist, at the point of the needle, I was so relieved to have the insurance debacle put to rest that I wasn’t even thinking about the possibility of pain.
And there wasn’t any. A quick jab and some notes scribbled on my treasured vaccine card, and that was it.
But the next morning, the symptoms came. I didn’t feel nearly as bad as I had the day after I got my second dose, but I certainly didn’t feel good. My sister explained it well when she said the second shot was like being hit by a speeding train, but the booster was only like being smashed by a Ford F-150.
I had planned my weekend around the expectation that I would be out of commission Saturday. That was the right call. I think I slept for about twenty hours that day. Of course, that might have merely been fatigue from being an overworked college student mixed in with the vaccine.
Then, just like the second shot, my symptoms were magically gone the next day.
Psychologically, there was certainly a part of me that felt guilty getting the booster as a 22-year-old. It’s the same feeling that I had when I got the first dose before either of my parents like I’m selfish and should’ve waited for more vulnerable people to get it first. There are people all around the world who haven’t had the opportunity to have any shots, and yet here I am walking around with three.
When I’m faced with this reality, I try to remind myself that my actions are helping to protect others. By receiving these shots, I am making it safer for me to see my parents, conduct my work, and attend classes without the haunting worry that I might be unknowingly infecting someone.
After receiving all three of the (currently recommended) doses, I can say with confidence that I’m still alive and haven’t had any long-term reactions. I’ve been spared a gut-wrenching positive test result, even though my work puts me at risk, and I can continue with my, albeit modified, life.
It would be one thousand percent easier if I had a crystal ball and knew exactly what the pandemic had in store for us, but at least I’m comfortable with my own decisions in protecting myself and my family as much as I can. And that’s the best I can do right now.